Pinduoduo Inc., China’s largest agriculture platform, pledged to step up efforts to modernize the agri-food system as it surpassed 800 million in users for the first time.
Revenue for the first quarter rose 239% to 22.2 billion yuan ($3.4 billion) in the three months ended March, beating consensus analyst estimates. The number of annual active buyers for the 12 months ended March increased to 823.8 million,making Pinduoduo the most widely used e-commerce platform in China.
“Our growing scale gives us both greater capacity as well as responsibility to live up to our mission to ‘benefit all',” said Chen Lei, Chairman and CEO of Pinduoduo. “As we work towards our goal of becoming the world’s largest agriculture and grocery platform, we must also seize the golden opportunity to transform and modernize the agri-food system.”
Chen highlighted food quality and logistics as two areas where Pinduoduo is devoting its resources to spearhead change. The company’s direct access to consumers and over 8.6 million merchants has made Pinduoduo “uniquely positioned” to bring together top minds from around the world to develop practical solutions to everyday problems. Many of these solutions will involve technology, which is the bread and butter of Pinduoduo, he said.
In the area of food, Pinduoduo announced a research partnership with Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research to conduct a study examining the health impact of substituting animal proteins with plant-based proteins. Last year, the two partners embarked on a project to develop a low-cost and portable way to test for pesticide residues, which when commercialized would improve food safety and quality.
“This is not our first research partnership and will certainly not be our last,” Chen said.
Pinduoduo is also developing logistics system and infrastructure solutions that are suited to the future, just like how it introduced a new era of interactivity among users, said Chen. The company has “some advantages” as it originated over a third of daily parcels in China last year and has expertise in complex technological system design, he said.
“We are looking at how things are done with a fresh pair of eyes, with no preconceptions,” he said. “As we continue to grow, I believe that we can use our scale for good.”
Duo Duo Grocery, its next-day pickup service, is seeing strong demand from consumers, who now have the chance to buy a wider range of perishables directly from farmers and agri-merchants in the region. Since the service started in August 2020, Duo Duo Grocery has catalyzed the creation of millions of jobs up and down the entire supply chain and provided an additional income stream for existing shops that serve as collection points.
“We remain committed to our social inclusion efforts and support for the vitalization of rural communities,” Chen said. “For any advancement to be truly durable, we must look out for all our stakeholders. It is critical that we partner and empower them with tech.”